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WEEKEND #07, 2012

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware




An Oklahoma man is lucky to be alive after a tunnel he had dug collapsed on him Thursday afternoon, less than 30 feet from the lifeguard stand known as "Little Wilmington" off Delaware Avenue. It was the first time in recent memory Rehoboth Beach has had a trench collapse on the beach.

The call for help was received at 2:25 p.m. and brought lifeguards, fire/EMS workers and police to the collapse.

According to a police news release, the 24-year-old Tulsa, Oklahoma man had been completely buried in the sand after the tunnel connecting two holes he had dug collapsed on him. Witnesses said the ditch was about five or six feet deep.

Rescuers dug frantically using garden and plastic shovels, beach buckets and their own hands. After about three minutes, they removed enough sand to reach the man's head. His skin color was pale blue, they described it as cyanotic. He was initially reported as unconscious. The crowd applauded when they realized he was still alive. Rescuers took several more minutes to carefully dig him out completely.

After he was loaded on a backboard he was taken to Beebe Hospital where he was treated and released.

Two witnesses said the man had started digging in a ditch that had been previously dug, possibly the day before. Beach Patrol Capt. Kent Buckson told WGMD that lifeguards did not see the holes because the view was obstructed by umbrellas.

Click here to listen to the dramatic radio transmissions from this incident.


Should Rehoboth Beach Patrol decide who gets to take photos?

It is often a challenge being a news photographer at the scene of a major breaking story, and Thursday's trench rescue was no exception.

Although well behind groups of spectators, when I arrived, two men took it upon themselves to block my attempts at taking photos and hinder my movement in any direction.

I am grateful to the Rehoboth Beach police officer who came to my aid, and told the men I had as much right to be there as they did and they should "back it off" or face arrest. The officer told me to "keep your distance." I maintained my distance, but the men continued to block my shots and hinder my movement. They were joined by Rehoboth Beach Patrol lifeguards.

Chuck Snyder, a volunteer firefighter and professional photographer, was allowed to take photos of the rescue. One lifeguard ordered me to put my camera down or leave the beach. Click here to hear my discussion with him. The guards joined the men blocking my attempts at photography using their hands, bodies and buoy despite the hundreds of spectators behind and around them -- and Snyder who would move to just steps from the rescue.

The guard claimed people were not taking photos. Snyder took many. He continues to enjoy access to scenes unavailable to other photographers. He provides photos to the Gannett-owned papers such as the Coast Press and the News Journal. Here are the photos he provided for a News Journal slide show.

I have nothing against Snyder, but if he sells his photos, I expect the same right of access. If not that, at a minimum, I should be entitled to the same right of access as the general public. I did not even receive that! If the guards allow spectators behind and around them on the beach, I should not be singled out, have my camera lens blocked or ordered to cease taking photos, simply because I have a camera. This is a clear violation of my civil rights.

The National Press Photographers Association agrees. "The press may not have greater access than the public but they also may not be restricted because they are press or are taking photos in a public place. The lifeguard had no right to demand that you leave or stop shooting," says Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association.

Snyder "cannot have it both ways," Osterreicher wrote, "either he is a firefighter responding to the scene of an incident and as such may be bound by certain HIPPA [healthcare privacy] requirements (you as a journalist have no such obligation) to protect the confidentiality of the person being rescued or he is a journalist subject to the same access and restrictions that you were."

The city must have a fair policy for dealing with photographers, because this situation will arise again especially with the increasing popularity of the iPhone and other technology. There is nothing in the beach patrol handbook covering photographers.

In this letter of guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division to the Baltimore City Police Department, Jonathan Smith of the Special Litigation Section writes "Officers should be advised not to threaten, intimidate, or otherwise discourage an individual from recording police officer enforcement activities or intentionally block or obstruct cameras or recording devices."

I have additional photos, video and audio recordings to support my case. But I think I made my point.

My hope is that the city solicitor will research the First Amendment and provide clear guidance to the police, fire-police, and especially, the beach patrol that will apply consistently to all photographers. I also hope the city will share this with news organizations which cover this town so everybody is on the same page. The ACLU provides this document concerning photographer rights.

A draft of this article was faxed and e-mailed to the fire company for comment on Saturday along with a message left on the fire chief's voicemail. No response has been received from the department.



Once again, Browseabout Books was the site of another popular book signing. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, were in Rehoboth Beach several days this past week. The only public event the couple attended was a book signing for her new book, Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops.

While Dr. Biden signed copies of her $17 book, the charismatic VP roamed the bookstore greeting shoppers. Then he headed out along Rehoboth Avenue, joining the common man, stopping every few steps to shake hands, greet visitors, pose for photographs and even visit some of the town's shops.

Some people were completely oblivious that they were waiting at the stoplight, standing with one of the most powerful men in America, while others spotted him right away!

Biden's protection team was casually dressed, on guard, but laid back. Here's another man, phone in hand, who seemed to be unaware who was getting out of the SUV right behind him!

Check Andrew Koch's article and this Daily Times article for more on the Biden visit.



Town officials in Dewey Beach are proud being designated a five-star beach, even beating rival Rehoboth Beach by one star (well, sort of)! The town marked the achievement this last Tuesday with a group photo on the beach at Dagsworthy Avenue. Earlier in the day, officials gathered at this event at the Rehoboth Beach bandstand to celebrate the clean water award and beach replenishment.




State officials spent the holiday week investigating a massive fishkill at Silver Lake. Thousands of fish were discovered dead on July 4. A DNREC news release says heat and low oxygen levels contributed to the fishkill.




Around 5 p.m. Sunday, this Nissan was reported submerged at the end of Collins Avenue at the Rehoboth Bay Marina in Dewey Beach. It rolled into the bay as a personal water craft was being loaded or unloaded. There were no injuries. M.A.G. Towing pulled out the truck.




The owner of the red Ford Explorer owed the city more than $500 in parking fines. It was one of the first - if not the first - wanted vehicles towed so far this season by Rehoboth Beach. It had just received another parking ticket in addition to two others from the previous day. Coastal Towing removed it from the second block of Delaware Avenue on July 4 around noon.

The same parking enforcement agent caught a second wanted vehicle just before 11 a.m. Saturday at Second Street and Maryland Avenue, which was also taken by Coastal Towing. That was an Oldsmobile Cutlass.


by Dagmar Henney

His name is Wilbur M. Reeling from Perryville, Maryland and he's just not your average abstract expressionist artist. He is a former military cinematographer, a food critic who was instrumental putting the Food Network on the air in 1993 and a temperamental artist (in a good way, of course!).

He is one of about 30 artists featured at Anita Peghini-Räber's Gallery. Anita says she found Wilbur while doing a Google search for abstract expressionists and fell in love with his work right away (that says something coming from an artist like her).

This is the first time Wilbur has been featured in Rehoboth, though he has exhibited in New York, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

Wilbur's multiple talent is astounding and awe-inspiring. No wonder that some of his artwork was stolen during one of his exhibitions. Every painting is a new approach to art and a different style. Most enjoyable! Check him out!

Shown is Denise DelVitto, Wilbur Reeling, Anita Peghini-Räber along with Wilber's dog, Foo Foo. Behind them is one of Wilbur's works from his string series, No. 8 No. 1, pigmented ink.

He is a lively character with a unique expressionist style to match. Check out Wilbur's Website or better yet, look for him at Anita Peghini-Räber's Gallery at 49 Baltimore Avenue in downtown Rehoboth Beach.


by Donna L. West

Shaun Hopper "The String Poet" has returned for his second summer to Rehoboth Beach. You can catch one of his incredible shows on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday nights from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Cultured Pearl. Shaun is from Adel, Georgia. His music ranges from acoustic, jazz, folk, blues, Celtic, alternative and instrumental.

Shaun uses his guitars (C.F.Martin) like no other musician I have ever heard. This one-man show sounds like an orchestra as he plays so many different musical parts using his hands and guitar to create beats, melodies, percussion and rhythms. He does occasionally sing some of his original pieces or one of the audiences' favorite, Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Shaun has released one CD "Lower Case Letters" and recently, a DVD, "The String Poet."

Last month, Shaun won an Indie Music Reviewer Acoustic Guitar Award due to his incredible talent and the many votes submitted by his fans all over the world. Since January, 2012, Shaun has opened up for B.B. King and Gypsy Kings. While attending the NAMM musical convention in California this year, he had the opportunity to play his specially arranged Stevie Wonder tunes for Stevie Wonder who was in the audience. It was a magic moment for both men!

Shaun is a genuine person who mesmerizes the audience with his talent and personality. You will enjoy Shaun Hopper perform at the Cultured Pearl when visiting Rehoboth Beach. You can find out more about this incredible musician and listen to samples of his music on his Website.

Photo courtesy Waddell Images



This wooden fish, used as a house number on a cottage in Rehoboth Beach, disappeared last month, and the owners, who submitted this photo, are anxious for its return.

It was cut from a piece of wood in the shape of a fish, hand painted and decorated with the number "26" on it.

A police report has been filed. So if you see it somewhere, please let Rehoboth Beach police know.



As the weather heats up, so does the campaign trail. July 4 seemed to be the defining day that local politicians selected as the day to start hitting the campaign trail. Campaign signs are appearing and there were at least two meet-the-candidate gatherings in Rehoboth this weekend.

Among the first out the gate is incumbent Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Patrick Gossett. About 30 residents gathered at Joyce Lussier's home Saturday morning on Henlopen Avenue to discuss the issues.

Major issues discussed included Commissioner Gossett's leadership on finding ways to make Silver Lake healthier, his work to improve the effectiveness of the tree ordinance and his close work with the city staff and the Chamber of Commerce and Main Street to enhance the downtown Rehoboth experience, including Parkmobile. You can e-mail him for more info.

Photo courtesy Howard Menaker

And across town on Sunday, at the lovely home of Hoyte and Sonya Decker on Laurel Street, Andy Staton greeted Rehoboth voters. He is running for the newly created state senate seat that covers the Dewey, Rehoboth, Lewes and Milton region. Staton, a former corporate D.C. consultant-turned-residential-real estate agent, addressed about 15 visitors. He discussed transportation, responsible development and growth and the importance of getting more medical/healthcare professionals to work in the Cape region. Silver Lake was also a hot topic. As of Sunday, he is one of six candidates who have filed for the senate seat.



"We took the Memory Maker Boat out on the 4th of July to Bethany Beach," writes photographer David Koster, "and had a BLAST! I hope you did too." He was shooting at ISO3200 on 1/80th of a second with a Canon 1Ds Mark II and a 17-35 2.8 lens, hand held in the wobbling seas!

Photo courtesy David Koster (www.PortraitsInTheSand.com and www.memorymakerboat.com)



GIRL PULLED FROM FENWICK ISLAND SURF, TAKEN TO BEEBE--- An unconscious 8-year-old girl was removed from the surf around 11:45 a.m. Sunday in the Fenwick Island State Park. Initially bystanders had started performing CPR, but lifeguards later suspected the girl had not been in cardiac arrest. She was taken to Beebe Hospital having suffered a possible seizure while in the water.


Sat. 3:05 p.m., Assawoman Bay, a DelDOT traffic plane reported a capsized sailboat with people in the water. About seven minutes later, the plane reported the vessel had been up-righted with the assistance of another boater.

Sat. 5:25 p.m., Collins Road north of Bethany. Two paddle boarders and/or kayakers were reported in the ocean about a mile from the beach. The state police helicopter reported they did not appear to be in distress, but they were escorted by a DNREC vessel to shore.

Sun. 2:15 a.m., 30th Street on the beach, Ocean City, a man wearing jeans and no shirt fleeing police ran into the ocean. Firefighters, police, Coast Guard and DNR vessels searched for the man. The search was suspended around 4:15 a.m. when police safely located him. They knew where he was staying in town.



Lincoln man tied to 38+ Sussex County construction site burglaries

Beebe Hospital officials say no increase in ER visits because of heat

Plover chicks beginning to fledge at Cape Henlopen State Park

Driver flees after crash that injured four on Route 24 (Harbeson, Friday)

Lewes and Rehoboth backdrop for new movie

Rehoboth chefs help brew new 16-Mile beer

Rehoboth Beach motel worker arrested for theft

NYC Times Square ads promote Rehoboth and Dewey

Dewey council eases noise regulations

Stretch of Del Seashore State Park beach closed for oystercatcher nesting

Vehicle fire at entrance to Leisure Point Thursday night

Suspected lightning strike starts house fire in The Peninsula (Millsboro, Sunday)

Delaware aims to ease the way for bicycle riders

Doctor by week, Ocean City lifeguard by weekend

OCPD looking for teens who tried to pass counterfeit $20 bill

Brooklyn Park, MD man killed in scooter accident (Ocean Pines, Wednesday)

West OC man assaulted & robbed (Thursday)



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